Main | Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Marriage: Is It A Dyke Thang?

Following up on Monday's post, which raised some very interesting and thought-provoking debate in the comments, I decided to do some regular reporter work and find out exactly what the numbers are, comparing lesbian marriages to gay male marriages, in the lovely state of Massachusetts.

I called and spoke to the city clerks, or their representatives, in the towns of Cambridge, Northhampton, Provincetown and Boston.

The very pleasant man who spoke to me from Provincetown was rightly proud when he revealed that more gay marriages took place in Provincetown than in any other municipality in the state of Massachusetts. However, he declined to reveal any stats about the sexes of the couples applying for licenses, saying that "we don't keep those sorts of records here", although he did say that they did keep track of overall same sex marriages versus hetero marriages.

According to their city website, in the first year of legalized gay marriage, 963 same-sex couples filed intent to marry forms, with over half of those couples being non-Massachusetts residents who "intend to reside in Massachusetts" in the future. Right.

From Northhampton, the famed lesbian enclave of enclaves, I spoke to their charming City Clerk, Wendy Mazza. Wendy was pleasant and efficient and provided me with the following stats for the city of Northhampton:

Notices of intent to marry filed for 2004: Lesbians: 295 - Gay Men: 43
Notices of intent to marry filed for 2005: Lesbians: 79 - Gay Men: 10

But then I hit the motherlode of gay marriage stats when I reached one Donna Rheume with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office Of Health And Human Services, Department Of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Whew. She must have some fancy business card!

Ms. Rheume was very accomodating to my request and emailed me enough data regarding the first year of gay marriage in Massachusetts to bury any statistician. But for you, my gentle readers, I will sift out the important bits.

Preliminary number of marriage certificates issued and registered in Massachusetts from May 17 to December 31, 2004:

Male/Female: 27,045
Male/Male: 2,123
Female/Female: 3,871

Top Ten Massachusetts Cities For Gay Marriage (Lesbians/Gay Males)

1. Provincetown (483 /358)
2. Cambridge (341 / 212)
3. Boston (161 / 294)
4. Northhampton ( 275 / 41)
5. Brookline (113 / 62)
6. Newton (100 / 46)
7. Somerville (82 / 52)
8. Springfield (46 / 34)
9. Attleboro (43 / 17)
10. Arlington ( 39 / 15)

So what do you think, gentle readers? When all the best available data tells us that gay men outnumber lesbians in the general population by a ratio of at least 3 to 1, and yet lesbians weddings are outnumbering gay men's weddings by at least 2 to 1, what does that mean?

Is this the final punchline to the eternal lesbian/U-Haul joke? Or does it reveal something much much deeper about the differences between men and women, even more that it does about lesbians and gay men?

Since gay men clearly have the numerical advantage, and presumably have the financial advantage, what is holding us back? Could it be that YES, marriage IS a woman thing, and here's the proof staring us in the face? Or does it mean something entirely else?

Regular readers of Joe.My.God. can probably guess what my opinion is, but for once, I'm keeping my big yap shut. I want to hear from you. Sociologists, armchair psychologists, those already married....please speak up.

Why do the dykes want to be married so much more than the fags do?


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